There was a time when humans didn’t see a single Arabian sand cat for about ten years. It’s not that these elusive animals are endangered—they’re not. Although they are naturally rare, they are around somehow.The disappearance of sand cats is actually more a reflection of their behavior. This breed of cats is extremely shy and absolutely secretive, so secretive in fact that they love to hide from the world. Also, the fact that there are very few scientists that actually focus their research on sand cats add to why the creatures are so obscure. Still, Arabian sand cats are some of the most beautiful cat breeds out there. If you don’t know much about this breed, here are 10 things to get you acquainted.
These cats are aptly named because they live in desert to semi-desert areas. They absolutely thrive in the sandy desert. They’re naturally found in the Northern Sahara Desert, in other parts of Egypt, Israel, Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, and Iraq. The Arabian sand cats are made to live in such high temperature areas, and the fact that they’re hard to spot probably means that they’re just sheltering themselves from the constant heat.
2. Cute faces
Arabian sand cats have very distinct facial features. Their ears are large, but their faces are even larger. Their heads are definitely too big for their bodies, which is why many scientists refer to them as top-heavy cats.
3. Desert adaptation
Their features are made for survival in the harsh desert environment. The large ears of sand cats are made for detecting prey. They have thick paws that are built to walk across the hot desert sand, probably in pursuit of prey. Their coats are colored the way they are for camouflage purposes and also to keep their body temperatures cool. They have hairs in different parts of their faces particularly for keeping sand out.
In order to stay away from the damaging heat of the sun, Arabian sand cats will dig holes underneath rocks or bushes to use as hiding places. They rest here until the sun has set, upon when they’ll be ready to come out and play.
Arabian sand cats are nocturnal hunters. They don’t need a lot of water because they get their fluids mostly from their prey. They usually hunt for birds, small reptiles, and other mammals. These sand cats are perfectly adapted to living in the desert, and they are some of the best hunters in that environment.
6. Cat calls
These cats are very different from their domestic cousins. Instead of meowing, Arabian sand cats vocalize by making a combination of yodeling and barking sounds. These calls are pretty loud and unique, and you’ll hear them echo through the desert when one is trying to find a mate.
7. Snake hunter
One skill that the sand cat has on its resume is snake hunting. If you’re afraid of snakes, the Arabian sand cat is the one animal you’d want on your side. These cats are ferocious and fearless snake hunters. They even catch and kill venomous snakes by giving the snakes heavy blows to the heads or biting their necks.
8. Cat family
Female cats typically have a gestation period of 60 to 63 days. They can have anywhere from one to four kittens in a litter. Kittens are born with distinct markings on their coats that disappear into adulthood. Male cats take no part in the rearing process, and by the time the kittens are 6 months, they’re considered adult cats.
9. Forward eyes
The purpose of this breed’s large and forward facing eyes is for judging distance. We could only imagine what this cat’s vision is like given that it has eyes that could see in the dark and eyes that could judge distances pretty impressively.
10. Little information
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of information out there about Arabian sand cats simply because there hasn’t been a lot of research devoted to the study of these animals. The need for field research and conservation practices are highly important to understand exactly how these animals live and what they need in order for their species to flourish again.